Neo is back on the big screen in the second installment of the Matrix trilogy. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving all return for the beginning of the Shyamalanization of the Wachowski Brothers. I had high hopes for this movie. I hate being disappointed.
So Neo is getting used to being the One. He spends his days chilling with Morpheus and Trinity in the Matrix, freeing people and acting like a holy man when he’s unplugged. Neo and his pals find out that the machines are going to launch an attack on Zion, the last remaining human city, where they like to have huge raves in underground caves. Not only do they have to deal with a massive machine invasion, but Agent Smith managed to escape death somehow, and now he’s wreaking havoc in the Matrix by making duplicates of himself. One of his copies manages to escape the Matrix and enter the real world.
Neo visits the Oracle and finds out that he needs to reach the Source of the Matrix. To do that he needs to find the Keymaker, who is being held prisoner by the Merovingian. Neo, Morpheus and Trinity manage to break the Keymaker out of the Merovingian’s grasp.
They come up with some complex plan to get Neo into the Source. The plan doesn’t work like it should, and the Keymaker dies and Trinity gets shot up by an agent. Neo reaches the Source meets the Architect and they have a conversation about how smart the Wachowskis are and how stupid you are because you don’t understand what they are talking about. And the Architect gives Neo a choice between saving mankind or saving Trinity. And Neo is selfish so he saves Trinity.
Neo discovers that he can disable the machines even without being plugged into the Matrix. But it’s too much for him to take and he collapses into a coma, and the movie ends in a cliffhanger.
There was a lot of potential for the Matrix sequels to be awesome. Instead the Wachowski Brothers decided ruining the franchise would be easier. You know that the movie was going to suck as soon as you realized that Tank is dead, even though he didn’t die in the first movie. There was no reason so replace a minor crewmember who didn’t die with another minor crewmember. It makes no sense. Link’s only redeeming feature is that he’s played by Harold Perrineau, and anyone from Lost is cool.
There are some cool action scenes, and even though they are more elaborate and complex, they are hollow, they don’t impact the story as much as the fights in the first movie. In the original the fights mean something. Morpheus fights Neo so he can learn what he is capable of for example. In Reloaded, there are fights just to fill screen time.
The fight between Neo and the Agent Smith clones could have been epic. It should have been. It starts out with a lot of promise. And about halfway through it becomes a cartoon. They get lazy with the fight choreography, with the animation, even with the sound effects. They actually use the sound of bowling pins falling over when Neo throws a Smith into other Smiths.
The best scene in the movie is the freeway chase. It might even be the best scene in the trilogy. A high speed chase with car crashes and albino twins and agents, Trinity and the Keymaker speeding the wrong way against traffic on the freeway, Morpheus fighting an agent on a semi truck… the whole sequence is exhilarating and you are almost relieved when Neo flies in and saves the day.
The Matrix Reloaded has its moments. But it’s a step in the wrong direction. It’s still worth seeing, but if you like the sequels more than the original you have issues.
Critically Rated at 11/17